HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

HMRC's 38 year Backlog

According to media reports over the weekend, HMRC are embroiled (there's a fine word!) in something like 20,000 tribunal cases that will take around 38 years to clear.

So why are we all moaning because it takes HMRC a "wee while" to answer their phones?

No wonder they are tied up!

The backlog, according to the media, is due to “rock-bottom” morale combined with a lack of resources. Given the many comments and stories on this site wrt morale and resources, that seems to be a plausible explanation in part.

With the retirement of many experienced tax professional from HMRC, the department is clealry becoming under resourced wrt experience.

Ian Hyde, a partner at the law firm Pinsent Masons, is quoted by the Telegraph:
HMRC is beset by poor morale, high staff turnover, budget cuts, and a lack of quality when it comes to training and knowledge.”
Unfortunately HMRC, instead of focussing on evasion and fraud, is stuck in the mindset that avoidance is also illegal (referring to it in the same light as evasion and fraud, even using the ward "war"):
We do believe that we are winning the war against avoidance.
The £917 million made available to us as part of our 2010 spending settlement for tackling avoidance, evasion and fraud, is being used against the avoidance ‘industry’.

The Government has closed down many film schemes that were used to avoid tax. Many of the schemes still being marketed just don’t work.
It is foolish and emotive for HMRC to use the word "war"; as previous "wars", eg those against drugs and terrorism, end up becoming expensive failures that exacerbate the problems that they were meant to solve.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. And.....?
    The tip of the iceberg pokes its head above water and yet again nothing will happen.
    WTF does it take to get this monstrosity back on the rails?
    The "customers" are not able to shop elsewhere and the majority are not willing to make their views felt.
    The staff, who are also "customers" BTW, are so demoralised and the overblown and top heavy management don't care a hoot.
    The performance of this organisation is beyond a joke, it is an International disgrace.
    Time for a few more cuts but not at the workface just sweep a scythe through the MLM (multi layered manageement) and while sufficiently motivated and/or interested launch some well focussed FOI and MP questions, written or otherwise.
    Perhaps a coalition with Ken, Private Eye and a few others would carry weight?

  2. Simplfy, simplify, simplify. Drastically change the system, keep the rate universally low and use the investigating style staff to actually keep the place running smoothly and efficiently.

    Make sure that the calls are answered withing three rings. Get polite, articulate staff to direct the call no matter what it is about and if someone isn't available then, get them a guaranteed call back within 4 hours.

    Remember, we are NOT customers, we are taxpayers. And most of us pay our tax without bleating. But when they screw up and send us incorrect bills years later or won't give us our refunds, that is what peeves most of us.

    Scrap the whole damn system and start again and make it EASY to understand and implement.

    I am guessing that if everyone had a £10,000 personal allowance and tax was all at 20%, everyone would be happy and the amount of tax take would actually go up overall.


  3. and... sorry, yes save a fortune in administration.

    1. and put loads of accountants & tax lawyers on the dole queue!

  4. Ken these are the best comments WRT HMRC I have seen on your site. I like many demoralised staff also do not understand why taxpayers and employers dont attack this shambolic outfit with much more venom.

    1. Thanks for the feedback.

      I think the lack of venom is due to a variety of reasons including, but not limited to:
      - fear
      - lack of understanding
      - lack of time
      - disinterest etc

  5. Perhaps the PCS should get closer to the Select Committee and be briefing with more vigour, its obvious that the mainstream media stands on the opposite side of the fence but that doesn't surprise me.
    What does surprise me is how unresponsive the staff are if it is really as bad within HMRC as is reported here and elsewhere.
    I recall the multi page article that Private Eye produced about the Mapely property "deal" years ago, but here we are, years later and HMRC is still shite, and will soon be having your salary before you. Be afraid, be very afraid if past performance is anything to go by.
    Wake up UK before its too late!

  6. The FSA is one of the Eye's premier targets due to its previously toothless tiger approach, just seen the news and Barclays (Hiss, Boo!)have been fined £300 million for its naughty practices.
    Yes I know the fine and costs will be thrust upon the Barclays customers, but these customers have a choice if they dont like it - they can go elsewhere.
    Wonder if this will stimulate some of the other "regulatory" authorities e.g. NAO, IPCC, HMG into waking up and having a go at HMRC properly at long last.
    The least this lot should be looked at for is malfeasance in public office, never mind Trade Descriptions Act (services, supply of).

  7. At least the UK Tribunal system is a relatively safe bet for employment for a few secades then?
    The Employment Tribunal system is so overloaded it is working evenings and weekends to clear the backlog.
    Be interesting to see what Pacesetter 3C's would make of the problem, its pretty basic really though - there is an overwhelming number of complaints needing to be examined.
    Watch for a new simplified "customer-focussed" system to be launched "to save the taxpayer/customer/victim time and money" while at the same time glossing over the problem and missing the target completely.
    ;) LOL

    1. L.2 substitute decade for secade please.